U-M Publishes Customizable Free Guides for COVID-19 Patients and Caregivers

A graphic of the COVID Home Caregiver Toolkit

It’s hard to imagine what 2020 would have looked like without the arrival of COVID-19. As we begin the new year, millions of people across the world have been directly affected by the virus. That’s why an interdisciplinary team of researchers from across the University of Michigan, including the Institute for Social Research and the Michigan Institute for Clinical & Health Research (MICHR), have published a new comprehensive toolkit to help patients and caregivers navigate the COVID journey every step of the way.

Based on guidance and feedback of COVID patients and caregivers, the new COVID-19 Caregivers Workbook includes information and practical resources specific to Michigan Medicine. But the team that developed it is making the template available for free to any health system or provider who would like to customize it for their use. Access the toolkits here: https://medicine.umich.edu/dept/pt-experience/patients-families/covid-1….

Guides Co-Created with Patient and Caregiver Input
The toolkit includes advice from patients and caregivers who have already experienced COVID and covers resources along the journey of the caregiver and patient from at-home care to supporting someone during an emergency and hospital care.
An interdisciplinary team organized by the BioSocial Methods Collaborative at U-M’s Institute for Social Research developed the guides after COVID-19 caregivers and patients voiced the need for better resources while taking part in a study called HEART (Health Enhanced by Adjusting and Recovering Together – https://heart.isr.umich.edu/).

“HEART pivoted to studying COVID caregiving when the interdisciplinary team and critical care ICU physicians reported that caregivers were being left out of the equation,” explained Jeannette Jackson, MBA, Managing Director of the ISR BioSocial Methods Collaborative. “The critical care doctors said that because of the need for social distancing family caregivers can’t be at the bedside of the patient.”

MICHR’s Translational Innovation team helped develop the HEART study, along with faculty and staff from the Michigan Medicine Department of Psychiatry, Department of Psychology, the School of Nursing, and others. Procter & Gamble also supported the project.
MICHR’s team worked closely with the researchers designing the HEART workbook from the initial planning stages to the creation of the toolkit, assisting with the transition from studying patients to creating tangible interventions for patients.

“Using a blend of human-centered design, lean thinking, and generative research as the backbone, we coached them into being more deliberate about the choices they were making as they gathered information, recruited participants, and moved through the design process of the research study,” explained Aalap Doshi, Director of the Translational Innovation Program at MICHR. “We helped them navigate the ambiguity and bring clarity to a complex situation.”

MICHR assisted HEART with
• utilizing human-centered design methodologies and mindsets
• identify the audiences they’re targeting and facilitate customized design sessions to deeply understand those audiences
• moving from studying patients to creating patient interventions
• prioritizing the study team’s efforts in the midst of the ambiguity of building something new
Access the workbook to explore each of the toolkit’s nine components, which cover everything from at-home care to supporting someone during an emergency and hospital care.

“We wouldn’t have been able to do this without the help of MICHR’s Translational Innovation team,” Jackson said. “MICHR was instrumental in helping to connect our research with a nuanced audience, understand their needs, and then create outcomes that really mattered to them.”

Learn more about the HEART study in the Michigan Medicine news announcement: http://michmed.org/kva88.

Publishing CTSA Program Hub’s Name
CTSA Program In Action Goals
Goal 2: Engage Patients and Communities in Every Phase of the Translational Process